Sleep better. Start a new workout routine. Practice mindfulness. As you make resolutions to improve your life, you may also find yourself setting goals around your career, including exploring the job market.
But you can’t just wish your way to a more fulfilling career. You have to work on it.
To help you find a job in 2021 that matches your skills, experience, and interests, start working toward these job search goals now:
Goal #1: Update your resume and LinkedIn profile
You can probably think of a million things you’d rather do than write a resume. But you’ll be doing yourself a favor if you have an up-to-date document handy.
A mistake people often make is to wait to revise their resume until they find a job opportunity that interests them. This prevents them from applying for the job right away. And by the time they have an updated version ready to submit, it may be too late. So don’t delay.
While you’re at it, review your LinkedIn profile and make sure it reflects your latest work accomplishments. Your profile is essentially your online resume, and many employers search for candidates on LinkedIn as part of their recruiting efforts. You want your profile to reflect the same information as your traditional resume.
Another benefit of having a neat LinkedIn profile? Recruiters often use LinkedIn to identify passive job seekers. With a strong online profile, you’ll increase the likelihood that a recruiter will take a closer look at you.
Goal #2: Strengthen Your Skills
To achieve your job search goals, you must be prepared to compete for the positions you want, of course. And regardless of your industry or career, developing an in-demand skill or pursuing certification can help you stand out as a candidate.
Pursuing professional development shows initiative and a commitment to learning, as well as an understanding of what it takes to excel in your field. It also makes it easier for you to answer the question that all hiring managers are likely to ask in one form or another: “How can you add value to the organization?”
Possessing certain abilities and qualifications can also help you negotiate a higher salary. (Robert Half’s salary guides provide insight into how much more employers are willing to pay professionals with coveted skills and certifications for certain positions.)
Goal #3: Prioritize Job Satisfaction
This is a good time to assess your job search goals – as well as your personal aspirations – and determine exactly what kind of job opportunity to seek. Many professionals do this as they look forward to a new year – and leave behind a very disruptive year.
Perhaps you would like to work in another industry, for example? Or take on a more fulfilling role with greater responsibility? Perhaps you are looking for a remote work opportunity that offers a flexible schedule? Formulate a clear idea of what you are aiming for, in order to better target your search for a new position.
Goal #4: Audit Your Online Presence
You can assume that all potential employers will review your LinkedIn profile (see objective #1). But some will also look at other channels to see if they can get a more complete picture of you as a job candidate. Consider how you present yourself on social media and online forums. You may need to do some digital housekeeping.
Make sure all information is up-to-date and accurate and presents you in the best possible light. If there’s anything you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see – vacation photos or your unfiltered thoughts about a politician or sports team’s poor performance, for example – examine your confidentiality.
Goal #5: Expand Your Professional Network
Your professional network can play a vital role in your ability to achieve your job search goals. Instead of in-person networking during the pandemic, look for virtual events hosted by professional or alumni organizations, or other groups relevant to your profession or industry.
Also contact new contacts on LinkedI